Schooling in the Czech Republic - Part II

From Secondary Schools to Universities

Ryan Scott

Written by Ryan Scott Published on 15.03.2012 14:27:05 (updated on 15.03.2012) Reading time: 4 minutes

In Czech Republic’s elementary schooling system, children who have successfully completed elementary schools can enroll in secondary schools. There is plethora of schools to choose from depending on your child’s talents, preferences or skills. As these schools have more focus, it will usually play a major role in your child’s selection of university education in the future.

Secondary Education
Secondary education starts with the end of compulsory education, i.e. when a child is 14 or 15. Broadly speaking, the system is divided into technical schools (odborná škola) and grammar schools (gymnázium). Uniforms are not required at either.

Technical schools are aimed at more practical education in fields such as in technology, business, economics, health and education. Graduation can end with either the “maturita” exam or a final exam with or without a certificate. Most students are enrolled for 4 years, though 2 and 3 year courses are possible.

Grammar schools are oriented toward students who intend to study at a university. Graduation from a grammar school ends with the completion of the “maturita” exam. Enrollment at a grammar school usually begins with the completion of basic schools. However, a student can try to enroll when he / she is 11 or 13 for an 8 or 6 year course.

Entrance criteria for both grammar schools and technical schools varies.  It can either be based on an entrance exam, school results or a combination of both. If you have a school in mind you can check its website. If the information isn’t in English, look under the either “přijímací řízení” (entrance procedure) or “přijímací zkoušky” (entrance exams).  Firstly, you will find out whether the exam is necessary. Some schools do not have an entrance exam or they waive it if the applicant has a high grade average. If they do have exams, they will tell you when and how to enroll and when the exam takes place. Also, check if the school uses exams by Scio, a firm which, among other activities, prepares exams for schools. They have information about the entrance exams they prepare on their website. Yes, it’s in Czech, but if your child is going into the Czech education system, they will have to know the language.

It is highly recommended to attend the school’s open day, the date for which should be found on its website. People in your area are another source of information. Lastly, you can check the comments at Zkoušky na Nečisto by selecting by region or school type. This website is not necessarily the last word, but it is current, so you may find an interesting comment or post your own question.

As mentioned before, grammar schools and some technical schools lead to the “maturita” exam, the passing of which is necessary for entry into universities. The exam has two components, written and oral. A student has two compulsory exams, one in Czech language and the other in a foreign language or mathematics. They can then choose a maximum of three other subjects to have the exam in. The “maturita” has gone through changes, resulting in the New Maturita.

The “maturita” is not the only option for secondary school students. It is also possible to study at an international school and obtain either the International Baccalaureate (IB) or the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE] Some of the schools which provide these programs can be found here.

Eric, a Canadian, spent a year at a secondary school in the Czech Republic in 2004. His comments were generally positive, particularly concerning his mathematics class. The math teacher encouraged her students and was always available to lend a hand. Generally, he said, “The education system is way more advanced in the Czech Republic.”

Universities are also divided into private and public. Entrance into a public university is based on the results of an entrance exam. Each course or faculty has its own exam, which could be written and / or oral. The more prestigious Czech universities, at least from a local point of view, are public.

However, a few of the private institutions offer degree programs in English. Internationally, the universities don’t fair so well. Only Masaryk University in Brno enters the top 100, at position 97, according to this list.

Today, the degree program in the Czech Republic is quite similar to elsewhere. They have the three standard degrees Bachelor (bakalář), Master (magistr) and Doctor (doktor). The Bachelor course goes for 3 to 4 years, Master’s from 1 to 3 and a doctor from 3 to 8 years. In the Czech Republic, the Bachelor title is abbreviated as Bc. and the Master’s as Mgr. The Doctor title is written including the faculty.  For example PhD is a doctor in philosophy, JUDr is a doctor of law and MUDr is a doctor of medicine. The Czech Republic also confers the degree ‘Engineer’ (inženýr), abbreviated as Ing., for postgraduate study in technology, economics or agriculture. It is similar to a Master’s Degree.

Higher education in the Czech Republic yet again offers a different alternative to international education. It often carries a different approach and a different style. Applications and examinations at these schools are often different and it is essential for each student to understand each school separately. Understanding the benefits, differences and drawbacks is very useful in determining what school one could enroll in.

We’d like to read your comments on the subject.

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